Designed by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), a 22-year-old nonprofit organization that’s built 5,000 miles of trails worldwide, the new Sandy Ridge Trail System delivers 6 miles of world-class single-track riding options just 40 minutes from Portland. Hikers are welcome to explore the new terrain, which opened late last year and traverses Mount Hood’s western foothills, but fat-tire fanatics might well become addicted to the rides on Sandy Ridge. Silky-smooth bermed corners and expertly contoured paths drop bikers past a menagerie of western red cedars, hemlocks, mossy Douglas firs, and rushing stream crossings during a 3.2-mile, 1,100-foot descent. The trail flows so well that the state’s premier mountain biking competition, the Oregon Super D Series, selected Sandy Ridge for the summer circuit this September. Meanwhile, Laura’s Loop, a three-quarter-mile nontechnical ride, provides a ready training ground for newbies. And bikers take note: another 8 miles of trail will be built this summer.
DON’T FORGET: Consider volunteering with Northwest Trail Alliance (nw-trail.org), which frequently hosts trail maintenance parties in the area.
POST-RIDE WATERING HOLE: Skyway Bar and Grill. House-smoked pork sliders and buttery mac and cheese are staples in this sprawling Zigzag roadhouse. Given the bar’s plentiful taps—12 in all—and expansive outdoor deck, you may decide to stick around well into the evening, when the bands start up. 71545 E Highway 26, Zigzag; 503-622-3755; skywaybarandgrill.com
TRAILHEAD DIRECTIONS: From Sandy, head east on US Highway 26 for 11.4 miles. Turn left on the second turn for Sleepy Hollow Drive. Go 0.3 miles and turn right on E Barlow Trail Road. After 1 mile, look for a gate blocking Homestead Road on your left. Trails intersect with the paved Homestead Road about 3 miles north of the gate. No fees or permits required.